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A Weekend Art Summit

This past weekend, my wife and I attended the first annual Art Summit held by the Lakes Center for the Arts in Laconia, NH, the theme of which was “Building Creative Collaborations”.  Each of the three seminars focused on a different aspect of the business of being an artist, and panelists included working artists and other professionals whose expertise would be useful to someone trying to “make a living by making art”.

The first seminar addressed “Art In Public Spaces”, focusing primarily on how to tap into that valuable avenue of exposure.  Panelists for this portion of the program included artists who have been featured in Meredith’s Sculpture Walk, and the director of the Meredith Public Library.  They shared information about some of the venues exhibiting art in our area, including local libraries, state buildings, and universities.  I learned that membership in the LCA will allow me to get into the rotation of artists currently utilizing these wonderful resources, and also that the Meredith Library’s recent expansion included the creation of a Makerspace!

The second seminar, called “Practical Guides For Marketing Your Art” touched on social media, writing an artist statement, presenting a coherent body of work, and how to properly photograph your work.  This panel included art department directors from two local private schools and a professional photographer, highlighting the importance of being one’s own marketing and publicity department.  Who knew being an artist was as much shameless self-promotion as it is putting pen to paper?  

The third panel offered a program titled “Building Your Career As An Artist”, and they were considered the “realists”, shining a harsh light on the legal aspects of owning and running an art business.  Topics included making sure you are properly insured; being aware of tax law as it pertains to artists; how to manage inventory; the importance of reading, writing, and understanding contracts; and how best to approach galleries.  This was a lot, but it was also very eye-opening. It showed me what I’m doing right and what needs work, and encouraged me to consider what level I’m striving to attain based on my definition of “success” in the art world, which can be different for everyone.

Besides the specifics of business management which I need to address in light of what I learned, I would say that my biggest take-away from the event was just how large and welcoming the local art community is, and how connection and expansion work so beautifully together.  I’m hopeful about the future of my art and the artists around me.  I believe good things are happening.  It was really great to learn that there are local Makerspaces in Wolfeboro and Meredith, where one can accomplish so many different things and connect with the larger art community.  I’m glad to know that they exist , and I plan to utilize them.

Now, it’s time for me to put down my writing pen, pick up my drawing pen, and get moving…

until it’s time for next month’s blog post, when I plan to review the Meredith Public Library’s Makerspace.  Stay tuned!

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